Dry January is a time when people try abstaining from alcohol for the month.
As it comes to an end this year, there are several reasons some people may want to decrease consumption all year long.
According to the CDC, one in six US adults binge drink. Plus, liver disease among 25-34-year-olds is on the rise, possibly due to a number of health complications, including a rise in alcohol abuse.
The recommended amount of alcohol is no more than two drinks a day for men and no more than one drink a day for women.
“Liver disease is one of the ones that are most obvious because people always worry about their liver. People don’t think about their high blood pressure, they don’t think about pancreatitis, they don’t think about how well they sleep at night,” said Kelsey-Seybold Dr. Shane Magee. “If you do a little bit of alcohol every day, you may think that it may not be very much, but you’re increasing your risk for cancer, it may not be a very big increase, but you’re increasing it. You’re increasing your risk for high blood pressure and endocrine diseases of the pancreas (diabetes), so any amount of alcohol is not good for you.”
Dr. Magee said most patients don’t consider themselves heavy drinkers, even if they are.
“I see a lot of people drink more than the recommended amount,” he said. “They say ‘Oh, I just drink a bottle of wine one night a week.’ And I’m like, that’s five different glasses in a bottle of wine, right? That’s already more than anybody should be drinking in a day.”
Using online tools can be a safe way to cut down
Nadya Khoja with the alcohol tracking app Sunnyside says they can help.
“On average, our members tend to reduce their drinking by about 30% in the first 30 days,” Khoja said. “We really don’t consider improving your relationship with alcohol as an all-or-nothing approach, but rather something that should be personalized to each person.”
Decreasing slowly is what Dr. Magee recommends. Going cold turkey may have other health complications. Talk to your doctor about a safe way to decrease consumption.
“Patients who’ve done dry January have already noticed a difference in terms of how they feel, in terms of weight loss, these physical benefits,” Dr. Magee said. “You’re going to feel good, you’re going to sleep well, you’re going to wake up and feel ready to go. Your exercise tolerance is probably going to increase and your productivity may increase.”
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